Romeo and Juliet

One of the recurring themes throughout most of playwright William Shakespeare\'s plays are people in unusual circumstances. These plays show the true nature of human beings and their behavior. An example of this is the story Romeo & Juliet. Here, two typical teenagers of that time are dealing with themes of behavior emotions many people deal with today, such as desperation, conflicts with loved ones, and rebellion.

Romeo Montague, a well to do young man from an esteemed house in Verona, Italy, is infatuated with a young woman named Rosaline. This is the scenario at the beginning of the play. In the first act, Scene 5, Romeo attends a party at the House of Capulet (his ancestral and sworn enemy) and spies a lovely girl. The girl, Juliet Capulet, and Romeo swoon for each other. Rosaline is soon forgotten. Such is the case with many adolescents. The whole dating culture of modern day teenagers is based on the concept that the heart is fickle and affections may be directed toward a new and better prospect every week, month, day, etc. William Shakespeare no doubt knew this, and perhaps had experienced such feelings, when he wrote Romeo\'s character.

Often times, parents of teenagers experience their children rebelling against them. Most children are obedient to their parents wishes until they reach an age when they start to form a sense of self and begin to want to make their own choices. A prime example of this classic conflict is seen in Act III, Scene 5 when Juliet Capulet\'s mother informs her that Juliet will be married to County Paris (a suitor). Juliet, after having spent the night with her new husband Romeo, is very unsettled and says she will not marry Paris. Juliet had been a reasonably obedient daughter until this scene, but in a moment of frustration and anger her father tells her marry Paris or "...never look me in the face." This piece of the play is an example of the age old parents\' ultimatum, "Live by my rules or get out of my house."

A prominent emotion throughout Romeo & Juliet is desperation. Desperation makes people do irrational things in order to get themselves out of a circumstance. Prince Escalus, after the third brawl in the streets of Verona, orders the death of anyone caught street fighting in an act of desperation to keep the peace. This is just one instance of desperation from a sorrowful story. At the end of the play, Romeo commits suicide because he believes Juliet to be dead. This happens all too often in modern society when a person can not see any hope.

Sadly, few things have changed since Shakespeare\'s time. Human behavior is very much the same, such as the conflicts between teenagers and their parents and reactions to hopelessness. Perhaps if everybody read and understood the deeper meaning of Romeo & Juliet, people would make sure not to make the same mistakes as those characters in the play because it is likely to end in dire results.